The ameliorative effect of silibinin against radiation-induced lung injury: protection of normal tissue without decreasing therapeutic efficacy in lung cancer.
BMC Pulm Med. 2015 ;15:68. Epub 2015 Jul 5. PMID: 26143275
BACKGROUND: Silibinin has been known for its role in anti-cancer and radio-protective effect. Radiation therapy for treating lung cancer might lead to late-phase pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the effects of silibinin in radiation-induced lung injury with a mouse model.
METHODS: In this study, we examined the ability of silibinin to mitigate lung injury in, and improve survival of, C57BL/6 mice given 13 Gy thoracic irradiation and silibinin treatments orally at 100 mg/kg/day for seven days after irradiation. In addition, Lewis lung cancer (LLC) cells were injected intravenously in C57BL/6 mice to generate lung tumor nodules. Lung tumor-bearing mice were treated with lung radiation therapy at 13 Gy and with silibinin at a dose of 100 mg/day for seven days after irradiation.
RESULTS: Silibinin was shown to increase mouse survival, to ameliorate radiation-induced hemorrhage, inflammation and fibrosis in lung tissue, to reduce the number of inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and to reduce inflammatory cell infiltration in the respiratory tract. In LLC tumor injected mice, lung tissue from mice treated with both radiation and silibinin showed no differences compared to lung tissue from mice treated with radiation alone.
CONCLUSIONS: Silibinin treatment mitigated the radiation-induced lung injury possibly by reducing inflammation and fibrosis, which might be related with the improved survival rate. Silibinin might be a useful agent for lung cancer patients as a non-toxic complementary approach to alleviate the side effects by thorax irradiation.